In the groove with Fred Zindi
There is no doubt that South African singer Brenda Fassie, who died in May 2004, was the top and most sought-after female musician in Africa. She was every music promoter’s cash cow. Fifteen years on, I wonder if any of our Zimbabwean divas will ever match that achievement.
At the Oliver Mtukudzi send-off concert on January 26, Edith We Utonga complained about the biased selection of artistes who performed as no women were selected by the promoters. Was it because there was no female artiste good enough or it was purely gender bias? We will see how this phenomenon pans out at the Mtukudzi memorial gig to be held this week.
Let us look at Zimbabwe’s female artistes and see how they will progress this year.
As the ever-shifting cache of top female musicians grows, we are always wondering who will come out better than ever and on top of all the rest in 2019.
We still have the likes of Stella Chiweshe and Dorothy Masuka, who are both past the age of 70, but are still making music. The chances of these ever making hits that will make waves throughout Zimbabwe and internationally are getting slimmer with each day.
However, let us look at the young divas who are working hard at achieving international recognition.
(Born on September 6, 1988) Brown has appeared on several media platforms as a gifted composer, actress and talented singer. Her latest album Ammartia was launched on November 10, 2018. Whether this will make waves in 2019, is a question of wait and see.
Tamy Moyo (born on 5 January 5 1998)
Her videos and music regularly appear on Trace Africa. Chances are high that she will raise the Zimbabwean flag high internationally.
With the passing on of her father, will she capitalize on this to make it to the top in 2019?
She is a highly rated and award-winning gospel musician. Fungisai, as she is popularly known, recently experienced a rise in her career owing to the hit song Vanondibatirana on which she collaborated with Killer T.
Shingisai Suluma (Chadoka)
The Nanhasi and Maitiro Enyu hitmaker was born on February 28, 1971. She recorded her first album in 1995 and has to date a total of nine albums. In 2018, she did a successful collaborative concert at the Celebration Centre with Janet Manyowa.
She was born on March 18, 1985 and she is a gospel musician who began her musical journey in 2014 by recording her first single Amazing God. Manyowa’s singles and videos have topped charts on the local gospel scene and paved way for her to be awarded as the Best Gospel Newcomer in Zimbabwe. Will she remain at the top in 2019?
Cindy Rufaro Munyavi (Born on November 24, 1984)
She is a songwriter known mostly for her tracks Parere Moyo and Ndidzorere Moyo Wangu. She has been doing music since the early 2000s. Apart from her music career, Cindy is also a budding businesswoman.
She is an Afro-fusion singer and mbira player. popularly known as the Princess of Mbira, she has toured many countries in Africa and Europe. Has to date released two well-known albums, Hope and Mbira Love and Chocolate. A third is currently in the making. Masike also features two tracks — Madzimai and Vanondi — on the Mahube 11-track album titled Zenzele. Mahube is a collection of top southern African musicians and vocalists founded by South African Steve Dyer. Locally Masike has collaborated with many artistes.
She is one of the pioneers of the urban grooves genre. She rose to national stardom in the 2000s with her hit Waenda found on Chamhembe Volume 1 compilation album.
Mangwenya Diana Samkange
Samkange started her musical career with the urban grooves group, 2BG, before receiving vocal tutorials and grooming into a solo career by musician Tanga wekwaSando.
Her solo career became a great success as she stole the hearts of many with her talent and has to date released four albums.
She toured the United Kingdom in late 2015, performing in various cities such as Birmingham, Dunstable, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. Will she make it in 2019?
Plaxedes Wenyika (Born on November 22, 1980)
She is a celebrated awardwinning Zimbabwean Afro-soul singer and songwriter. She is also an economist by profession and the holder of an MBA. She hogged the limelight with her song Wadarireiko. We are all waiting for her 2019 release.
Tariro neGitare (Born on September 6, 1985)
She is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who plays Afro-soul music. With proper guidance, she has the potential of bringing out hits this year.
Pauline Gundidza (Born on July 8, 1985)
Gundidza recently last year released a single titled Ndakakumirira,but it did not go far. She has a polished voice branded together with the traditional mbira sound and has for long been identified with the Mafriq Afro-pop music. The singer was once married to another famous artiste, Roki. Her recent release needs a lot of pushing if it is to make it in 2019.
Prudence Katomeni Mbofana (Born in 1977)
She is a talented jazz musician and has one of the most soulful voices in the country. She rose to prominence when she was the lead vocalist in the band, Jazz Invitation, releasing hits such as BP Yangu Yakwira and Ruva Rangu. Katomeni, despite her perfect vocals, because of her chosen music genre, might find it an uphill struggle to be ranked among the top 10 divas.
Rute Mbangwa (Born in 1985)
Mbangwa is a renowed jazz singer/songwriter. A Chipawo-groomed dancer and actress and former backing vocalist for Tanga wekwaSando, Mbangwa formed Jazz Sensation in the year 2004. She released albums, namely If Only My Heart Had A Voice in 2004, Rute Goes Kumaginde in 2008 and Kuri Kutonhora in 2014. I wonder what is in store for 2019.
Lady Squanda (Born on November 21, 1991)
She claims to have been influenced by Jamaican female dancehall artiste Lady Saw. She is an award-winning artiste and one of the very few popular female artistes in the male-dominated Zimdancehall music genre. The self-proclaimed Queen of Zimdancehall has performed popular tracks such as Ndinovhaira. She has been dogged with controversy, from fights over men to use of provocative and vulgar language in her songs. Will she carry on in 2019?
Sandra Ndebele (Born on January 3, 1982)
She is a musician, director, actress, choreographer and dancer. She has made a name for herself in Zimbabwe as a versatile performer, having performed in India, Dubai, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada and Japan. She is currently an ambassador for the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, National Blood Service Zimbabwe, Mpilo Central Hospital and Suzuki. In 2018 Sandy rebranded herself as well as her music. She now dons a more modern look and has a high energy dance sound. She is currently working on a new album, which will see her in collaborations with West African musicians in 2019.
Pah Chihera (Born on March 6, 1991)
She is a singer who sings a fusion of tropical and Afro-contemporary rich music with a Zimbabwean traditional feel. She is widely known for her hit single Runonzi Rudo. After a period of silence, she is back in the business and 2019 might be her year of making it.
Betty Makaya (Born on June 14, 1983)
She is now based in South Africa. She is most known for her track Usipo and a 2004 collaboration called Kurwizi, which she did with the late urban grooves singer, Jamal Mataure. Makaya has also done collaborations with Alexio Kawara. Will she carry on in 2019?
Olivia Charamba (Born on August 14, 1973)
She is popularly known as Mai Charamba and is a multiaward-winning gospel artiste. She started her musical career as a backing vocalist for her husband, Pastor Charles Charamba. She rose to prominence as a solo artiste with her 2000 debut album, Amen. With the formation of a new church, Rooted In Christ Ministries, we wonder how this will affect her musical career.
Patience Musa (Born on March 14, 1979)
She is a radio and television personality who works for ZiFM Stereo as a producer/presenter. She is also a solo singer who once formed part of the group Mateo and Friends together with Willom Tight and Mateo Kaunda. She also worked with Fungai Malianga. It does not look like she has time to record any music in 2019.
Kudzai Sevenzo (Born on May 3, 1979)
She is an extremely talented performing artiste, singer, song-writer, actress, African Movie Academy Awards nominee, M Net’s Project Fame contestant and MNet’s Studio 53 presenter. She is currently undertaking an Arts degree programme at the University of Zimbabwe and might not have time to do any musical recordings in 2019.
So, which diva will rise to take the trophy in 2019?